How to prevent your toilet from overflowing - HMS National, Inc.

How to prevent your toilet from overflowing

April 27, 2015

Without question, an overflowing toilet is everyone's worst nightmare, and it can strike at any moment - when you're having company, during the middle of the night, throughout the course of dinner. Luckily, you don't have to wait until you're ankle-deep in toilet water to do something about it. Prevention starts now.

Think before you sink 
One of the simplest ways to prevent your toilet from overflowing is by putting the lid down after every bathroom visit. This way, there's less of a chance of anything falling or getting tossed into the toilet. Anything that isn't toilet paper can clog the toilet and even if it doesn't cause immediate spillage, it can do some serious damage down the road. Further, make note of what you're flushing. Even something that seems harmless, such as paper towel, can be bad for your septic system. 

Here's a list of items that should never go into a toilet, as explained by Care2:

  • Cotton balls and swabs
  • Prescription medication
  • Cigarette butts
  • Bathroom wipes 
  • Cat litter
  • Fats, oils and grease
  • Disposable diapers.

How often should you clean the toilet?
Additionally, maintaining a consistent cleaning routine can also reduce the risk of toilet overflow. Apartment Therapy suggested scrubbing the toilet and surrounding areas at least once a week. In a separate article, the source outlined a proper cleaning guide to kill germs and make your bathroom sparkle.

Put on your rubber gloves and grab your toilet bowl cleaner, a brush and disinfectant spray. Here are some of the specifics when it comes to cleaning the toilet, according to Apartment Therapy: 

  • Let the cleaning solution sit in the toilet for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Scrub the rim of the toilet using some elbow grease.
  • Encourage the members of your household to clean the rim after each use.

When to call a plumber
If your toilet is clean and you're sure no one is flushing random items, but you're still experiencing overflow, you might have a plumbing problem. One of the indicators that you're having a plumbing problem and not just experiencing an issue with one toilet is if several toilets aren't functioning properly.

This Old House summarized that the plumbing issue can stem from a number of causes. For example, issues can occur from a blocked vent or the main drain. Typically if there is something wrong with the main drain, the flooding will occur from the lower fixtures of the toilet. 

In instances like these, it's best to call the plumber. Finding the cause of the issue is the best way to reduce the chance of it happening in the future. 

The information in these articles is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.